Falcom Namba Collection
Falcom Namba Collection
February 21, 1992
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Hiroyuki Namba is a Japanese progressive rock and jazz fusion musician known for his work with Sense of Wonder. During the years, he has offered a number of arrangements for Falcom games, most of which have been well-received. The Falcom Namba Collection compiles a selection of his existing arrangements, taken from Sorcerian Super Arrange Version and Music from Ys II, into a single album. The last three tracks of the collection are brand new. Let’s take a closer look…
The album begins with a soft rendition of Sorcerian‘s “Opening” theme. Hiroyuki Namba maintains the simplicity of the original with his palette of piano and bass. However, the performances bring a lot of emotion to each recollection of the melody or deep chord switch. In this regard, it is a full realisation of the feelings that went into Yuzo Koshiro’s original music before it was degraded into with PC-8801 synth. Namba nevertheless demonstrates he is willing to rock in the subsequent rendition of “To Make the End of Battle” from Music from Ys II. It’s quite a straightforward rendition of the original, yet the melody is so good that this is not a problem. The hard-edged guitar and drum work really make a difference.
Some of the Sorcerian arrangements are very expansive. An incredible example is “Kraken”, which channels all the aggression from the original into a formidable progressive rock piece. Though not really a progressive piece, “Blue Dragon” is even denser with its extravagant electric guitar solos and heavy drum beats. This piece is also one of the few that departs from the synthy focus to highlight instrumental soloists. Mitsuo Nagai’s electric guitar work is also a very liberating element in “Forest”. “Desert” meanwhile offers a new facet to the album with its Celtic recorder solos and classically-influenced accompaniment. Such an organic and spiritual piece adds some depth to a largely mainstream-targeted production.
Though the majority of the arrangements are taken directly from Sorcerian Super Arrange Version and Music from Ys II, there are a few brand new bonus tracks. Ys‘ “First Step Towards Wars” wonderfully evolves from its pensive piano introduction into a full-blown rock jam that extends to nearly seven minutes. In my opinion, this is easily the best rendition of the classic theme available. Despite all the solos, “Tower of the Shadow of Death” still maintains that percussive influence and underlying lyricism so inherent to the original. “Field” is a slightly weaker arrangement, based on Dragon Slayer: The Legend of Heroes, but it is stll a pleasant way to lead out the album.
Hiroyuki Namba is one of the best arrangers that worked for Falcom. He demonstrates great understanding of the original material he works with, yet is also willing to really experiment and go wild when appropriate. Some criticise his arrangements for being too synthy or samey, but I largely disagree. The whole album is well-implemented, whether using keyboards or live instruments, and there is plenty of diversity offered with the jazz, prog rock, and Celtic arrangements. Those wanting a dose of the Namba sound won’t go wrong here, providing they don’t already own the Sorcerian Super Arrange Version and Music from Ys II.
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Posted on August 1, 2012 by Chris Greening. Last modified on August 1, 2012.